NASHVILLE, Tenn. --** Have you ever thought about what a dairy farmer and a Titans player have in common? They are out on the field working regardless of the weather to achieve a common goal: winning the game and producing high-quality milk. Both sacrifice personal time and interests, in addition to putting in long hours to create a successful brand.
June is Dairy month and Titans cornerback Jason McCourty recently kicked it off by visiting the Hatcher Family Farm in College Grove, Tenn. for a little unconventional "off-field training" with Charles Hatcher, a fifth-generation local farmer and middle school football coach who cares for a 200-acre family farm established in 1831.
McCourty serves as a "Fuel Up to Play 60" ambassador with the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60), the nation's largest in-school wellness program, is a partnership between the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council (NDC), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. FUTP60 empowers students to live active and healthy lifestyles by playing or exercising for at least 60 minutes each day and fueling up with healthy foods such as low-fat and fat-free dairy.
As part of the NFL's FUTP60 program, Titans CB Jason McCourty visits the Hatcher Family Dairy Farm in College Grove, Tenn. (Photos: Lynne McCracken)
McCourty took part in daily chores such as bottle-feeding baby calves, Iggy and Hoda, filling and lifting feed buckets, and loading bales of hay - all comparable to lifting weights and conditioning exercises. In addition, McCourty learned how all-natural local milk is produced and sent to vendors. Before leaving the farm, McCourty toured the "Hatcher Cow Hall of Fame" where the cows are named after football players, such as former Titans player, Jevon Kearse and other celebrities!
"The visit provides Titans fans a window into the world of a dairy farmer and the hard work that goes into producing each glass of milk," said McCourty. "For about 25 cents a glass, milk is one of the most economical and nutritious beverages out there. To produce milk, however, takes a lot of hard work, which I got to experience first-hand. It was great to see how the cows were cared for and the effort taken to ensure every gallon of milk is delicious and safe."
Dairy milk provides nine essential nutrients including calcium, potassium, and vitamin D which many American's aren't getting enough of. Hatcher said he hopes McCourty's visit will encourage young people to drink more milk and even take an interest in dairy farming.
"Milk matters," said Laura Marbury, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition Affairs Program Manager with Southeast United Dairy Industry Association in Tennessee and Kentucky. "Children of every age -- and adults too -- need the nine essential nutrients found in milk for strong bones, teeth and muscles."
"Most folks have no idea what goes on at a dairy farm and how milk is produced," said Hatcher. "A lot of people love Titans football, so Jason's visit to the farm is sort of like a bridge. If more people feel better about milk and more people are encouraged to drink it, I think that's a great thing for the health and economy of the state."
For five generations, the Hatchers have been milking dairy cows on the same land near College Grove in Williamson County. Milk that has the Hatcher Family Dairy Label is guaranteed Tennessee local milk, produced only from Hatcher farm cows.
In 2008, the Hatcher family built a creamery, and they currently produce and sell whole, 2 percent, skim, half-and-half, cream, butter and gelato. They sell to almost 50 vendors in the greater Nashville area – everything from grocery stores to coffee shops.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Dairy Council (NDC) which was formed on behalf of dairy farmers and processors to protect and promote the healthy benefits of dairy products and the industry. Today, NDC remains a highly-credible, science-based nutrition information resource to schools, health professionals, media and other thought leaders.
Fuel up to Play 60's new campaign for schools this year is "Fuel Greatness: Increasing Availability, Accessibility and Participation in School Breakfast." New research shows that better nutrition starting with breakfast, coupled with increased physical activity can lead to better academic achievement.
The Hatcher Family is proud of its heritage and is committed to the core values of quality, integrity, cooperation and tradition. These values are a reputation they uphold in the community.
Those familiar with football and farming understand it's no easy task. Football and dairy farming are a way of life.
To see more, tune into Titans All Access Mini-Camp special edition:
Titans All Access Specials (local affiliates air times)
WNAB 6.28 09:00PM Titans All Access Mini Camp
WZTV 6.28 09:30PM Titans All Access Mini Camp
WUXP 6.28 10:00PM Titans All Access Mini Camp
WNAB 8.02 09:00PM Titans All Access Training Camp
WUXP 8.02 10:00PM Titans All Access Training Camp
WZTV 8.02 10:30PM Titans All Access Training Camp